2017 has seen a major seismic shift in the application of media and social channels to both empower and disrupt players in the corporate and political landscape. A whole new generation of media pundits and social media users are finding new voice and power over established brands.
So what are brands and marketers to do in this new, volatile world, where media channels are both a vehicle for enthusiasts, and a weapon for the disgruntled?
If you cringe when you hear the word "United", then you know the power of the modern media channel's ability to affect both the stock and public image of a company. United Airlines' gaff, and subsequent dismantling on the various media channels, cost that brand a "$255 million loss in market value in one day," according to USA Today.
This sense of uncertainty is by no means limited to brands who find themselves on the wrong side of public sentiment. The 2017 "State of Inbound Marketing," put out by Hubspot, notes that,
"People across the globe cited the current political landscape as a source of disruption in their jobs. For the first time, we received a multitude of references to current events: Brexit, the current U.S. administration, economic crises, world politics, and even a call-out on currency fluctuations in South Africa. For business leaders, uncertainty and fear in the political and economic climate are only complicated by the speed of change in the marketing and sales industry and the speed at which new digital challenges occur."
So how are marketing people planning to address these global and local disruptions?
Find the center: the why
Simon Sinek, author and thought leader, has this advice:
"People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it."
Your ‘why’ is about communicating the fundamental purpose that is at the heart and soul of what you do.
Do you think that is too touchy/feely for the board room? Think for a moment about Apple, a company that has an enviable cadre of dedicated, fanatical customers who, as of March 2017, have helped make Apple a $750 billion company.
Apple has clearly defined their "why," as evidence by their "Think Different" tagline. So, how do you get to the "why" of your company?
Utilising his "Golden Circle" method, Simon Sineks lays out these three steps:
- Think about "What": what you do or what you sell?
- Then think about "How": what methods and processes you use.
- Finally, use the "What" and "How" to understand your "Why": Why you do what you do.
Why finding your "Why" works
The overarching importance of "why" is that it allows people to interact with your business as something more than a faceless consumer brushing up against an equally faceless corporation.
By interacting with your "why," it becomes their "why" also, forging a real connection between the brand and the individual. They are no longer as interested in the benefits that the company offers as part of their buying decision, but rather, they want to be told the deeper story, the foundational narrative that makes this company or its products different from the other options available to them.
When they come on board with your foundational beliefs, they ultimately have a stake in the success of your company. This gets your company to the place where Apple is now.
"This is one very weird cult," said one bystander at a recent Apple product launch in California, "It’s just a phone."
Your business is always in motion, interacting with people - whether they be current customers, potential and future customers or people who may never patronise your business.
What matters is that you recognise that these groups are all made up of people who are guided far more by feelings and emotions, than by cold rational facts and logical arguments.
The "why" of your business should be at the forefront of all your communication – online, online and in-person.
To find out more about getting in touch with the "Why" of your business, how it all fits within a larger strategy for growth, be sure to read our free eBook titled Cracking the code to Business Growth.